Figuring Out Roza Otunbayeva


How do you see the new interim leader of Krygyzstan?  An independent, accidental democrat, or a shill for the siloviki?  Blogging at Oil and Glory, Sasha Meyer points out that the usual chorus of agreement among some Russia skeptics is shattered, with some arguing that Roza Otunbayeva is a positive force for the country, while others see nothing but trouble.  Personally, I don’t think that even Otunbayeva knows what she will do yet, and her Soviet history is meaningless to me.

Scott Horton and Oleg Panfilov both are supportive of Mikheil Saakashvili’s government in Georgia, but they fall in different camps when it comes to Otunbayeva.
Horton, a well-known human rights lawyer who blogs over at Harper’s, describes her as “the one leader of the old revolution who adhered rigorously to the values she espoused, sharply criticized the failings of her colleagues, and suffered the consequences of a fall from power as a result. Her credibility and integrity are the saving spark of this revolution, so far.”
Panfilov, a well-known Tajikistani journalist and a specialist on press freedom, overtly expresses his dislike of Otunbayeva. He writes that both in 2005 and now she has sought support in Moscow, thus helping to strengthen the Kremlin’s influence in the region. Panfilov also dismisses her as reformer because of her past as a member of the Soviet nomenklatura.